Weber 15502001 22″ Performer Deluxe Charcoal Grill Review
Weber’s classic 22-inch charcoal kettle grill has taken some criticism over the years for its simplicity, and the fact that Weber has done little to change or improve it. This is typically in the face of all the other innovative charcoal grills that have flooded the market in recent years.
While Weber tries to stand by the idea that they got it right the first time, they do attempt to show some innovation in answer to these criticisms with their 15502001 Performer 22-inch Deluxe Charcoal Grill.
Most of the innovation comes from the integrated cart. It features a charcoal storage bin that is supposedly designed to be completely waterproof. It also has two large wheels and two locking casters to make it both more mobile and more stable than the tripod base you typically find on a 22-inch Weber kettle grill. There are also three tool hooks, and a convenient timer unit.
This isn’t the only extent to which Weber attempted to inject innovation into their already tried and true design. The performer also has a one-touch ignition system that you rarely see anywhere else. This is essentially a small propane canister attached to a burner element. When you turn it on propane flame runs for a few minutes to start the charcoal without the fuss of a charcoal chimney or the fumes of lighter fluid.
The lid and primary fire bowl of the Weber Performer are structurally the same as what you would find with the classic 22-inch Weber kettle. However, the Performer takes it a step further and includes an optional fire bowl divider, included in the purchase. This allows you to create two distinct heat zones. The lid also has a built-in thermometer and damper for easy heat control.
It also comes with a “One Touch” ash catcher. To use it you simply swing a small lever back and forth. This turns an internal mechanism which pushes the ash and spent coals out of the fire bowl and down into the ash collection pan below.
Construction & Ease of Assembly
The Weber Performer has the same basic design and quality materials that you expect from all the products in their line. The added innovations like the fire bowl divider, the thermometer in the lid, the one-touch ash cleanout system, and the one-touch ignition system are all nice little add-ons.
The cart is also a step ahead of the arguably wobbly tripod base of the classic 22-inch Weber kettle. Still, there are two minor design faults worth noting. For one, the lid still has the same wobbly hook system with only a minor tweak.
The cart also has two large wheels, which work nicely. Unfortunately, they are paired with two very small casters. This means if you want to move the Weber Performer over any sort of bumpy terrain, you have to lift up to the caster side, to wheel it along.
When it comes to assembly, there are some online retailers who offer free or inexpensive, expert assembly service. Still, if you have any sort of mechanical inclination, you don’t really need it. It’s obvious that Weber took their time writing up the instruction manual to make it as easy as possible to use. Which is nice, considering it could have been a relatively frustrating thing to assemble.
The Weber Performer can do everything you expect from the classic 22-inch kettle grill, and then some! With the classic it was pretty hard to improvise it as a smoker or hybrid grill. The optional fire bowl divider that comes with the performer allows you to create two distinct heat zones.
This means you can set it up with a hot fire on one side, and no flame on the other to barbecue smaller portions of meat. In this configuration, you might be able to accommodate a small pork shoulder or say a chuck roast for pit beef sandwiches. There isn’t enough available space to handle a brisket. If you wanted to do a full rack of spareribs, you might be better off cutting it down into 3-rib portions.
If you set it up with a high flame on one side of the divider and low flame on the other, you can hybrid grill a modest amount of food. A perfect example would be to place marinated bone-in chicken thighs over the low heat side to cook through and break down some of the tough muscle fibers. Then you can move them over to the high heat side to sear and mark them off.
The Weber Performance offers a little over 380 square inches of grill space on the chrome plated grates. The standard purchase comes with the static grill grates. However, Weber also sells accessory grates that have hinges. This could be handy if you want to use the divider for smoking and need to reload coals on one side.
The one-touch ignition system is really convenient, and it’s not something you find with a lot of competitors.
The cart itself is a bit of a special feature in that it improves stability, and also has a timer, as well as extra storage.
The fire bowl divider is also a nice touch. It allows you to convert it to an improvised smoker or a hybrid grill.
Ease to Clean
The Weber Performer is relatively easy to clean. The grill grates are a little sticky, but easy enough to scrape down.
The one-touch ash collection system is handy, with a few minor caveats. The mechanism that turns inside it has a knack for jamming up on unspent coals. It tends to do this more and more over time. If you close off the dampers to essentially suffocate the fire, you are more likely to end up with unburned chunks.
These will either jam up or simply won’t pass through into the ash collection bin under the fire bow. Instead, it might be better to just let the fire burn all the way down to fine ash, before shuffling it all loosely into the collection bin.
Weber has a reputation for standing behind their products with a strong warranty. The Weber Performer comes with a limited warranty of
The bowl and lid have 10 years of coverage against rust and burn through.
The One-Touch cleaning system has 5 years of coverage against rust and burn through.
All Plastic components have a five-year warranty against fading and factory defects.
All other remaining parts come with a two-year warranty.
The Weber Performer makes an admirable attempt to innovate their standard 22-inch kettle grill. They further stand by their product with a superior warranty system. Just find the wobbly lid, and let the fire burn all the way out before you attempt to clean it.
- Weber’s standard quality
- One-touch ignition system
- Durable and convenient cart base
- Timer, lid thermometer, and tool hooks
- One touch ash cleanout system
- Still has a wobbly lid
- Two front casters are small
- Charcoal storage bin isn’t perfectly watertight